Video Games Interview: Naughty Dog’s Scott Lowe talks Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

With the next Uncharted game right around the corner, we got the chance to speak to Naughty Dog’s Senior Communications Manager, Scott Lowe about all things Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. 

What makes Chloe and Nadine such a great fit for this particular Uncharted title?

So Chloe and Nadine are two really special characters. I mean Chloe is a fan favourite after her roles in Uncharted 2 and 3, we get requests all the time to see more of Chloe. She has this incredible personality, but despite that her role in those two games she has been an enigmatic character so we thought she would make the perfect fit to lead a new Uncharted game and to be that central focus as there’s so much more to her story that we haven’t really explored. Secondarily when we thought about who would make a good pairing with Chloe, and Nadine was almost an immediate choice because she’s also an enigmatic character.

She kind of keeps people at arms length and she is a lone operator in that way, and the two of them have complementary and contrasting personalities. Even though they have enigmatic personalities they’re also a little different . Chloe is improvisational and she has this sly wit and uses her sense of humour to diffuse situations, while Nadine is a little more pragmatic and serious, so when you put those two together there’s this interesting kind of conflict that emerges as they learn to work together and determine whether they can even trust each other in this situation.

Did you guys play around with other pairings and characters before coming to that decision?

All options were considered with the exception obviously of Nathan Drake because we felt like we really wrapped his story up well, but I think Chloe was a near instantaneous frontrunner for this game and I think Nadine followed soon thereafter  for the reasons I mentioned. They just seem like they have the most potential from a character dynamic perspective but also just the broader narrative as there’s so much more opportunity to learn more about them and dig deeper into their stories.

As an overall experience and title, has this become bigger than you initially expected?

Yeah, we’re treating it like a true Uncharted game full stop. We don’t really see it as DLC because when we set out initially with the idea of doing DLC, we thought with The Last of Us: Left Behind we were really able to  create something remarkable as an addition story element. But I think when we finished Uncharted 4 we had time to explore what those options could be because we really thought like we said everything we had to say in Uncharted 4 and did everything we wanted to do. So we had this incredible opportunity to start fresh and say we can tell any story we want and focus on any characters we want, and what quickly became apparent is in order to tell a really satisfying story and do it justice, it had to be more than DLC, it had to be a complete game. And by extension the fact that it wouldn’t be DLC was also pretty quickly identified, so we’re treating it as if it’s a full game and it’s going to be both on digital platforms and store shelves.

How does it stack up in comparison to the mainline series in relation to length and exploration?

We would say it’s a fair comparison to make with the earlier Uncharted games like 1, 2 and 3, in terms of scale. Uncharted 4 was kind of the outlier as given the nature of the story it was a grand scale thing to wrap up Nathan’s story, so it’s definitely in line with those earlier Uncharted games. I mean it varies by play style in total time spent, as in the gameplay demo we’re currently showing off this week is this new open explorable environment within one of the chapters in the game, that also drastically impacts your play time because you can go any where you want and do anything you want and just spend a lot of time just exploring and completing activities.

The open world is something that really interests me because it feels familiar yet different. What inspired to make The Lost Legacy more of an open ended exploratory title?

I think the Madagascar environment in Uncharted 4 was like the first step to realising what we have here in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, which is the environment that is expansive but incredibly detailed and filled with activities that really contribute to the overall story,  so we wanted to make sure that narrative and gameplay were tightly in sync and making sure that every activity you’re doing in this new environment adds to the story in a meaningful way. So as you complete these puzzles that are in this particular level or find treasures and collectibles that they are informing you more about Chloe, Nadine , their relationship and some of the underlying lore surrounding the artefact they’re after and the history of the Hoysala Empire in India’s western gap where the game is set. It’s really about the marriage of narrative and gameplay in an open explorable environment.

As the series as we know it has come to a close, have we seen the last of Uncharted altogether, or is this a springboard to take it in new directions? 

It’s cliche to say never say never but It’s probably true in this case, our focus is really on wrapping up this game, we’re nearly there and it’ll be out in 3 or 4 weeks now, and then after that we’re continuing on our development of The Last of Us: Part 2, so there is no active plan to make another Uncharted game, no active discussion about it, but who knows where we’ll go after we finish The Last of Us: Part 2. We kind of joke about it but we really haven’t thought that far ahead, so we’ll have to see what’s next after that.

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is a Playstation 4 exclusive, releasing both digitally and physically on August 23.